About True Grit

Join us for True Grit!

True Grit Spinal Cord Program

Teens and young individuals who have experienced spinal cord injuries (SCI) often do not get all the help they need after leaving the hospital due to the medical model design and lack of resources.
When someone first gets a SCI, they usually go through a period of rehabilitation in the hospital. This helps them learn how to take care of themselves and move around more independently. Dealing with such a life-altering injury can also affect their emotions and motivation. This can make it harder for them to fully engage in their recovery plan, and it can lead to poor outcomes and inability to reach their full potential.
Growing up and becoming an adult is already tough, but it's even harder when you're dealing with an SCI. Teens need extra help that goes beyond just being in the hospital. This kind of support is important because it cam stop them from having to go back to the hospital, help them become part of their community again, and keep them moving forward in their personal journey of growth.
Until True Grit SCI, there have not been programs available for adolescent and young adult patients after hospitalization that offer peer support and rehabilitation services once the clients are emotionally prepared to find hope and acceptance regarding their injury.
Who We Are
True Grit SCI provides healing, hope and inspiration to adolescents and young adults with spinal cord injuries.
What We Do
We seek to fill the gaps in rehabilitation through hosting adaptive activities (sports, leisure) with the support of peer mentors, experienced SCI therapists, and an in-person residential rehabilitation program hosted at Rutgers University. 
About the Program
True Grit SCI is a five day residential (sleepaway) program specifically for adolescents and young adults with SCI.  The program takes place on the Rutgers Livingston campus and provides opportunities to gain independence through staying in a dorm with the support of therapists.
Participants will experience staying away from home, improving self-advocacy, and identifying possible future opportunities for leisure and recreational interests. Each participant will have the opportunity to work on achieving individual goals with therapists while also socializing with peers who they can relate to. Attendees will take part in fun adaptive sports and activities, peer mentorship, and receive education regarding living with an SCI and transitioning to adulthood in a safe, encouraging, and therapeutic environment.
The program provides PT, OT, Recreational Therapy, peer mentorship, and psychotherapy services to further improve self-care, mobility, and quality of life. It is a great opportunity to meet and connect with new people, venture beyond your familiar surroundings, and try new experiences that will positively impact your life. 
Target Audience: 
Adolescents ages 16-21 with SCI post-discharge from the hospital. 
Participant Criteria:
  • Does not require use of respiratory supports
  • Medical stability with physician clearance for participation
  • Use of wheelchair as primary means of mobility
  • History of spinal cord injury/dysfunction
  • Age 16-21
  • Able to use upper extremity (arm/hand) to operate wheelchair
  • Candidates who are motivated to achieve personal goals and experience new activities
Exclusion Criteria: 
Respiratory support, cognitive or behavioral impairments that would impact positive participation in activities, comorbid health care needs requiring a high level of medical care, safety concerns to self or others.   
Program Goals:
  • Reduce hospital readmissions
  • Promote educational and vocational treatment
  • Achieve client-centered goals in self-care and mobility
  • Improve self-confidence and quality of life
  • Create a structure to reach adolescents with SCI who are lost in the gaps of the current medical model
Program Dates & Location:
    Dates: July 15, 2024 - July 19, 2024
   Location: Rutgers University Livingston Apartments in Piscataway, New Jersey 
Apply to our program: 
The application process for our program is currently open! *Click here to register* 
Contact Us: 
If interested, we can provide additional information and answer any questions you may have. Please email us at activityconnection@childrens-specialized.org.
Complete the RecDesk forms at time of registration and a True Grit team member will contact you with next steps.